The German Competition Authority declares non-compete clauses in a web of distribution agreements concluded by Germany’s main power tool manufacturer to be incompatible with competition rules, but does not impose fines (STIHL)

Introduction In its decision of May 31, 2022, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) determined the unlawfulness of a non-compete clause in the distribution agreements of STIHL Vertriebszentrale AG & Co. KG, a subsidiary of German chainsaw manufacturer STIHL Holding AG & Co. KG (“STIHL”). This comes about 14 months after the company itself first reported the authority’s investigations which were triggered by the complaint of one of STIHL’s competitors in January 2019. The FCO’s decision concerns the period between January 2019 and June 2021 and affects several hundred authorized STIHL dealers in Germany – which is one of the reasons why the FCO attributed “market-shaping significance” to the clause in question. Nevertheless, and quite remarkably, the FCO did not impose a fine but

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Sebastian Faust, Florian von Schreitter, Philipp Heuser, The German Competition Authority declares non-compete clauses in a web of distribution agreements concluded by Germany’s main power tool manufacturer to be incompatible with competition rules, but does not impose fines (STIHL), 31 May 2022, e-Competitions May 2022, Art. N° 108230

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